And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
There’s still plenty of time to do all the important things
Prufrock wants to do, except now he’s second-guessing
The setting gets more specific, too. We might imagine him
standing outside the upstairs room his "love" is in. He paces
back and forth and tries to decide whether to ask his big
question. "Do I dare?" he wonders. But no, he doesn’t dare.
He turns around and heads back downstairs.
Of course, Prufrock doesn’t exactly describe this scene to
us: he’s much too tricky for that. Instead, he poses it as a
hypothetical situation – "Well, if I wanted to chicken out and
not ask my question, there’s plenty of time for that, so what’s
the big deal?"
Sure there's time, Prufrock, sure there is.
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
[They will say: "How his hair is growing thin!"]
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
[They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!"]
Now he’s going to describe his appearance, and the first
thing we learn is he has a big bald spot. He’s probably a
middle-aged man, or at least close to it.
Also, he seems worried about what people will say about
him and his bald spot and his thin arms and legs.
His only attractive features, funny enough, are his clothes.
He has a nice coat and necktie, which he wears according to
the fashion of the time. He’s not a trend-setter, though, he’s